I’m perfectly happy doing my own tax return, thank you very much

Managing your own tax return is fine ... until you need to deal with HMRC

08 March 2023 - David Collins

As tax advisers to several thousand clients, we are very used to seeing letters from Her Majesty’s Revenue & Customs (HMRC).  Our work involves helping our clients with every aspect of their tax planning, tax returns and tax advice, and this inevitably means we correspond with HMRC quite a lot. We sometimes come across people who confidently state that they don’t need any kind of professional tax advice and they are perfectly happy to manage their tax affairs themselves. Which is great!

But … it is increasingly common to experience delays, errors and a standard of customer service from HMRC that leaves much to be desired. We are also seeing incorrect tax calculations due to the PAYE system not being correctly linked to the self-assessment system, and as much as a 17 week wait for clients to obtain tax refunds. Their letter writing skills also could do with being improved: take a moment to try and make sense of this document which we received a few days ago.

Can you imagine how underwhelmed you would feel to receive a piece of correspondence as confusing as that? We’d like to say that this was a one-off from HMRC, but sadly this is typical for their standards of communication. If you are someone with little spare time – bearing in mind that the average length of a phone call to HMRC is now well over an hour, and they aren’t now taking email queries – or you don’t have superhuman reserves of patience, then you really should engage the services of a professional tax adviser.

An independent tax adviser can help you with

  • Income tax – helping you take advantage of all available allowances and in some cases structure your income to be more tax efficient.
  • Completing your tax return – making sure that your tax return is completed accurately, thus avoiding any penalties from HMRC, and ensuring you don’t have to pay any more tax that you’re legally obliged to.
  • Trusts and estates – protecting your assets effectively for the benefit of your dependents and loved ones.
  • Stamp Duty Land Tax – making use of possible tax reliefs or exemptions when purchasing houses, land and most types of built property over a certain value.
  • Capital Gains Tax – identifying where it does and doesn’t apply, and the tax reliefs that may be available.
  • Inheritance Tax – protecting your wealth for future generations and ring-fencing your assets accordingly.
  • Non-dom status – checking if your tax status has been affected if you live or work abroad.
  • Making gifts – helping you to pass on your wealth and assets under your individual tax-free allowances, which can be exempt from inheritance tax.

And last by very much not least …

  • Communicating with HMRC!  Your tax adviser will do the heavy lifting for you, completing and submitting your tax returns, and dealing with any subsequent enquiries. We also have an Agent-dedicated phone line which enables us to get through to HMRC more quickly than the main line.

Our team of friendly, professional tax advisers have been helping individuals and families navigate their way through the tax system for many decades, helping to avoid any unexpected bills and finding ways in which to mitigate tax exposure. Whether you’re looking for the answer to a specific issue, or a long-term plan that protects your financial future, we’re here to help provide you with answers. Call us on 0330 058 6559 or email hello@scruttonbland.co.uk






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